Ever notice that different rooms at home or at work make you more energized or drowsy, alert or dull-minded? That’s because the type of light that enters your eyes affects your brain.
Different people react differently to light, and we all need distinct amounts of light to thrive. But in general, full spectrum light—the kind that we receive from the sun—cues the brain to be alert. By contrast, lights with a limited spectrum, like neon or florescent bulbs, can actually have a sedative affect.
Most indoor bulbs tend to emit blue light, in the form of cost-efficient LED and fluorescent bulbs. These can directly interfere with melatonin production, especially if you’re exposed to them while working late hours (even if you’re working from home!).
If you feel sleepy at work during the day, it could be because the bulbs in use are not full-spectrum. Consider putting in full spectrum bulbs both at home and at work to energize yourself throughout the day.
Most importantly, try to turn down the lights starting a few hours after sundown. Your body and brain need time to unwind and prepare for sleep. Remember that this includes light coming from the screens you use on a daily basis, too: Your television, computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, and electronic reader all emit light that can cue your brain to activity rather than sleep.
Once the lights are off, be aware that light coming into your bedroom from the outside can also interrupt your sleep cycles. Make sure you shut out that light with curtains, blinds, or an eye mask, if necessary.
When you’re getting the right amount and kind of light you need on a daily basis, you’ll have more ease in getting to sleep and sleep more soundly, as well. This means a more well-rested and more inspired self, both at home and at work.